It’s so much easier to tell you what doesn’t interest me in a story. The characters can draw me into the story but to keep me there the pacing better be fast forward much of the time. I don’t like huge amounts of setting and description just enough that I can picture the scene and see the characters.
Another thing I don’t like is pages of introspection. Thoughts can be boring unless it pertains to what is going on in the story. Something else I detest is reading about gratuitous sex. It’s boring, and I’ll skim through the scene so fast your head would spin. If the scene requires a love scene, then I’m all for it and if it’s a good one I’ll read it.
Something else I don’t like is the same old plot. How many times do you want to read about runaway brides, women with babies their spouses, boyfriends, etc., don’t know about, navy seals and on and on. What is wrong with writers? They read a story they like about a hero/heroine and they decide to write the same story with the very same characters. After a while it gets boring. Please come up with something new.
For instance, why can’t the hero be a soldier, sailor, marine, or someone ordinary instead of a navy seal, special ops, CIA, FBI, or mercenary? I have to admit here that I’ve done the very same thing, but the ordinary men and women in our military are brave heroes, too. It is only right to portray them as such instead of ignore them for what we think are more high profile characters.
Okay, I am going to get to what I want in a story. I want to read something with meat and potatoes to it. First, I want a hook, and I want emotion. This requires real depth to the characters and to the plot. I want to live what those characters are living and I want the plot to be believable. I want to care about those characters.
A story is good if it gives me something to think about, makes me keep reading until it is finished, and then stays in my mind for weeks, months and years. I remember the premise of a story I read years ago, but I don’t remember the title of the book. It was about survival, the people lived below ground because the air above was tainted, but there were those who survived above ground. They wanted to go underground, but the ones who were already there wouldn’t allow them to come down because they were contaminated. This could have been a movie, too, but whatever it was it always stuck with me.
The story had a great beginning (hook) and it only grew from there as there was fighting between the two groups. The conflict started immediately, it intensified and with a plausible plot that could happen in real life the story held my attention to the end. There was even a love story.
Tell me what you want in a book.